Anschuetz/Wesigerber/Anschuetz Atari Game Development
Publication date 2018-04
In August 2018, Robert Anschuetz posted:
My name is Robert Anschuetz. Together with my brother Eric Anschuetz and friend John Weisgerber, we wrote 3 Atari BASIC games that were published in 1985 in Antic magazine (Kooky's Quest (Feb. 1985), Overflow (July 1985), and Robot Dungeon (Nov. 1985, Antic Disk Bonus).
In addition to these three games, we also submitted and sold two games to Compute! Magazine that were never published (Kooky Klimber and Night Rescue). We also wrote several other games that were never offered for publication.
We are now releasing all of these games to the Public Domain with the hope that the Atari 8-Bit community will take a look at them, and perhaps they can be added to the Holmes or TOSEC archives for preservation. Again, these are not new games, but they are new to the Atari 8-Bit community. Many of these games really pushed the envelope at the time for what could be done in Atari BASIC, including bi-directional smooth scrolling, assembly language subroutines, parallax scrolling, cut scenes, attract modes, display-list tricks, interleaved-displays, etc.
In conjunction with the release of these games, we have written a short article that describes how we got together as a team to write these programs, along with game instructions, and development notes. This article gives a really good insight into what it was like in the 1980's to discover the hidden programming secrets of the Atari computers during many late-night programming sessions.
All of these games were written for an Atari 400/800 with 48K RAM (most run with less) and BASIC. An Atari 800XL configuration should run all of these games with no problem. Each game is saved to an individual ATR file, which also includes an AUTORUN.SYS that automatically runs the game at coldstart bootup. One note, after the games start, almost all of them require a lengthy initialization process. Even after the "Press Start to Begin", some require another minute of initialization before the game actually starts.
As part of this release, we updated one of our old games called "Alien Assault" because it only ran with a cassette system. It now works fine with a disk. Included in the zip file are both versions. We are also re-releasing a 2017 version of the game "Robot Dungeon" that was originally published as an Antic Disk Bonus in November 1985. The original game had 3 levels of 400 rooms. This newer update cuts the size of the levels way down and makes the game winnable (the cut scene at the end is worth seeing!). The user can create mazes of any size from 5x5 to 20x20. The ATR comes with three 5x5 levels (25 rooms per level) (use the filename D:DUNJIN.DAT to load the maze). We have also added a cheat so you can walk through interior walls and not be killed by monsters.
In April 2018, Robert Anschuetz wrote to me:
I updated our PDF document (now version 4.0) that describes our games. I have added several new sections to it since I first forwarded it to you. The new picture on the cover page is our Atari computer collection that had been hiding in the attic for 30 years. You might be interested in reading the 2 pages in the section called "Phreaks and Pirates" that I had previously withheld from the public posting of the document.
An exciting discovery for us was that not only did we find our computer hardware and floppies (which still worked), we also found all of our game development notes in the attic. I scanned in every page (252!) and created a PDF document.
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